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Cablegate: Estonia: Ilves Is Elected President Of

VZCZCXRO1358
RR RUEHAST
DE RUEHTL #0887 2700539
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270539Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9067
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TALLINN 000887

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EN
SUBJECT: ESTONIA: ILVES IS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF
ESTONIA

Ref: (A) TALLINN 00798 (B) TALLINN 00867

1. (U) On September 23 Toomas Hendrik Ilves, a Member
of the European Parliament (MEP) and former Foreign
Minister and Ambassador to the U.S., was elected
President of Estonia. A 345-member electoral college
comprised of parliamentarians and local municipality
representatives voted 174-162 for Ilves over incumbent
Arnold Ruutel. There were 8 abstentions and 1 invalid
ballot. The inauguration ceremony will take place on
October 9.

2. (U) The National Electoral Committee certified the
results of the election. However, Center Party member
Viktor Fjodorov filed a complaint relating to the
selection of a member in the electoral college. The
Committee registered a Reform deputy in place of
Fjodorov as Loksa municipality's elector. Fjodorov's
appeal to invalidate the Committee's decision is now
being decided by the Supreme Court. However, the
result of this case will not affect the outcome of the
election: Ilves garnered just enough votes to
maintain a simple majority of votes cast.

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3. (U) After the election, Ilves said, "Estonia should
be clearly among the ones who generate ideas in
Europe" and not be afraid to take its ideas to the
wider world. "Postimees", the leading Estonian-daily,
commented that though Ilves has an extremely high
level of public support, he will be assuming office at
a volatile and fragile moment due to the coming
parliamentary elections next year. Ilves' election is
a considered to be triumph for those parties that
backed his candidacy -- the Social Democrats, Reform
Party, Pro Patria, and Res Publica. They are hoping
to carry this momentum into the parliamentary
elections, although with those elections still six
months away this may not be easy.

WOS

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